Study Finds That Most People Who Live in Glass Buildings Keep the Shades Drawn

August 29, 2014

When we talk about apartments in glassy towers we always emphasize the stunning views, ample natural light, and cross ventilation. But according to a study from the Urban Green Council, most residents in these all-glass buildings are not taking advantage of those attributes.

The “Seduced by the View” study surveyed 55 glassy buildings around New York City and found that on average, 59% of the window area was covered by blinds or shades. And over 75% of buildings had more than half of their window area covered. Results were similar regardless of time of day, direction the window faced, and whether the building was commercial or residential.”

Seduced by the View, Urban Green Council, green building

The Council does note that their analysis isn’t conclusive, as the sample size was relatively small, but the consistency of the results suggests common patterns among glass building residents. They assert that while tenants are paying a premium for views they don’t actually utilize, society is suffering higher energy costs, carbon emissions, and air pollution.

Why are residents drawing the shades? One reason is privacy (remember those scandalous views visitors to the High Line got of guests in the Standard Hotel?). The other is comfort. Depending on the windows’ glazing, they can become intensely hot in the summer, while keeping out warmth in the winter.

Seduced by the View, Urban Green Council, green building

The Urban Green Council has two suggestions for solving the problem. First, they recommend better design, including exterior walls with insulation on the lower two or three feet and fiberglass window frames, as opposed to highly conductive aluminum. Second is communication. The Council thinks brokers should ensure that prospective tenants realize the full implications of living in an all-glass building. For more information, you can read the Urban Green Council’s full “Seduced by the View” report here.

[Related: Glass Towers to Go Green? Environmentalists are Calling for Stricter Regulations for Supertalls]

[Via Fast Co. Design]

Graphs courtesy of Urban Green Council; Lead image Joe Shlabotnik via photopin cc

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